Nick Wright on LeBron’s impending free agency: ‘If Houston makes the Finals, he can’t go there’

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In a discussion with Cris Carter on First Things First, Nick Wright examines the effects on Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James' legacy based on if he leaves in the offseason and on where he would sign.

- I think his legacy in Cleveland was secured the moment they won that title. OK? So his legacy, that's just within the city of Cleveland, right. Had he gone back to Cleveland and then left without delivering a championship, that is a problem for his-- for his legacy-wise. I mean, legacy-wise.

- Right. Because he wouldn't have lived up to the letter.

NICK: Wouldn't have lived up to what he promised.

- To the letter that I'm here to bring a championship back to Cleveland. So that prophecy, fulfilled.

- Right. If he had-- if he had gone back to Cleveland, never won another title but also never left the Cavs, I don't think people would say you didn't live up to the letter. You know what I mean? People would say, you did your best.

- Right.

- You tried. But if he had written that letter, stayed for four years and been like, yeah, we didn't win, I'm leaving-- that would have been a problem. I do think going to Philadelphia could-- maybe in the short term he gets criticized. I think it could long-term-wise enhance his legacy if they win. If you all of a sudden take three different franchises-- three different franchises who-- like, Miami had the one year with Shaq and Wade but didn't have a great history of winning.

CRIS: Right.

- And you bring them to the heights. If all of a sudden he makes four straight finals in Miami, four straight, I believe, in Cleveland, and then reels off a two or three straight in Philly, now we're talking about something totally-- a resume that will be almost unimpeachable. The one legacy spot that could-- there's, I'm not sure how it would go is Houston. And a lot of it depends on how Houston does this year. If Houston gets knocked out in the first or second round, even with Harden winning the MVP--

CRIS: Yes.

- I think he can go there--

CRIS: That's different.

- Without a ton of criticism. But-- I'm of the belief that, if Houston makes the Finals, he can't go there. Like, I'm of the belief that, if Houston wins the title, obviously he can't go there. I don't know if everyone agrees with that. I know the Rockets are hoping that I'm wrong-- that they win the title and get LeBron.

- What if Houston goes to the Finals and they lose to LeBron?

- Well, that's-- see, so that's an interesting one. If he-- if he beats them in the Finals and then goes and joins with them, I don't know how much criticism he would or wouldn't get because he's the team that beat them. But the-- the one place we know he can't go legacy-wise is Golden State, and that's not on the list. The closest thing we have in this league to Golden State is Houston.

And the one part of the Houston thing that no one discusses is, while we know-- we have good reason to believe the owner would love to have him, we have good reason to believe the general manager would love to have, the people of Houston-- do we know how James Harden feels about this? Like, do we? Has anyone asked James Harden? Because if you are James Harden, don't you feel like, I mean, over the last four years I've been the best player in the league. Like, the last four years, I'm going to have two runner-ups in the MVP that I should have won. I'm going to win the MVP this year.